May 23, 2018

Sugar’s Offseason Jump-On-The-Bandwagon Topics

February 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Plenty of jump-on-the-bandwagon topics to digest from the offseason, including the popular opinion that the Kansas City Royals have the best Farm System of all 30 major league baseball clubs.

As bright as the future may be, our friend Rob Neyer of told Michael Lynch and I on Monday night’s latest edition of the “What’s On 2nd: Radio Hou”r that the Royals might still have to go backwards before they can start looking toward being competitive again.  Yes, I said again, because I am of a certain age where I can remember when the Royals were competing in the late 1970’s and into the 80’s, culminating with their lone World Series title in 1985.

Rob told us that the Royals may very well boast the WORST record in baseball when all is said and done for 2011.

However, in the spirit of trying to remain upbeat, I present to you the case of pitching stud Michael Montgomery, a talented lefty who will be on the scene with the Royals very soon.  Montgomery was selected 36th overall out of Hart High School in Newhall, CA in the 2008 first-year player draft by the Royals.  Hart High School is no stranger to producing major league talent with their alumni including James Shields of the Tampa Bay Rays, as well as former big league ballplayers Todd Zeile and Bob Walk

There were 14 pitchers taken prior to Montgomery’s selection at No. 36 and that pleased Royals scout Dan Ontiveros just fine.

“I’ll say that it takes a lot of luck to land a player of Mike’s caliber,” said Ontiveros, last season when we talked about Montgomery.  “There were a lot of other scouts that liked Mike as much as I did.  I was just fortunate that we had a compensation pick (for losing reliever David Riske), and that Spencer Graham (our west coast supervisor at the time) liked him as much as I did. He still has a ways to go and the higher he goes, the tougher it’s going to get. He’s a focused kid and I’m sure he will do what he has to to become a big leaguer.”

Interestingly enough, two of those pitchers taken in front of Montgomery in the 2008 draft are now with the Royals organization.  Aaron Crow was selected ninth overall out of Missouri in 2008 by the Washington Nationals.  The Nationals failed to sign Crow and he was taken in the first round (12th overall) by the Royals in 2009 and eventually signed with Kansas City.  Jake Odorizzi was chosen 32nd overall in 2008 by the Milwaukee Brewers and was part of the package of prospects dealt from the Brewers to the Royals this offseason in the Zack Greinke trade.

Montgomery, who turns 22 in July, features a fastball, curveball, change-up and palm ball, which his father taught him when he was young.  The fastball and change-up have potential to be above average at the highest level.

“As far as projection goes, I figured that Mike would have a plus fastball as well as a plus change up,” said Ontiveros. “I thought he would have a solid average to a tick above curveball and that he would have plus command of his stuff.  I wrote him up as a 2/3 starter with a chance to work a lot of innings and have a very successful major league career.”

Another professional scout was impressed with Montgomery when watching him in start with Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina) early on in the 2010 season.

“He’s got a chance to be an ace.  He could pitch in the big leagues here within a year or two.  He’s as good a left-hander as I have seen, and that includes David Price.  He’s better than David Price.”

Montgomery was touted as the Royals’ best prospect, according to Baseball America, entering the 2010 season.  Overall, he went 7-4 with 88 strikeouts in 85 innings between Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas (Double-A, Texas League).  He also pitched for Team USA and in the Arizona Fall League after the minor league season was complete.

Going into 2011, Baseball America ranked Montgomery as the fifth-best prospect in the Royals system with three position players (Eric Hosmer, William Myers, and Mike Moustakas) and one pitcher (John Lamb) jumping up in the ranks.

He is expected to return to Double-A at the start of the season and could see the majors in September.

Going On The Record:

This is a fact that needs to be known.  We are a week into spring training and already I have heard a reporter say that a player (Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez is the latest) has dedicated himself during the offseason and added “15 pounds of muscle” during the offseason.

If you hear or read this about a player during spring training, please know that it is NOT POSSIBLE!

Feel free to think one of two things, either player is taking something he shouldn’t be taking or the reporter yet again has not done his homework and continues to walk around Florida or Arizona with his or her eyes closed or head in the sand.

You cannot add that kind of muscle in that short a period of time.  It’s not possible!  Gammons was the culprit last year when he wrote that pitcher Brandon McCarthy had added so many pounds of muscle during the offseason and I wrote on this site that a pitcher adding that kind of muscle is not a positive thing, and without even looking up his numbers, I can tell you I didn’t hear McCarthy’s name more then once in 2010.

Sugar’s Random Thoughts:

Can someone explain this to me?  Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland says Miguel Cabrera’s drunk-driving arrest will not be a distraction for the Tigers.  However, Albert Pujols has to cut off negotiations with the Cardinals upon his arrival to spring training camp because his agent talking to the organization about another $200 to $300 million dollar contract is distracting.

Glad to see that Cabrera keeps the streak alive.  Anyone remember the last time a player or manager didn’t get pulled over for DUI/DWI or suspicion of either prior to or during spring training in Florida?

So Joba Chamberlain shows up to camp a bit on the pudgy side.  If Mr. Steinbrenner were still alive, would he have told reporters that Joba is a “Fat Toad?”

I’ve told Jess Coleman this on “What’s On Second: Radio Hour” (heard live on Monday’s at 9:00 p.m. EST and available on site and ITunes) that Zack Greinke will hit 4 or more home runs with the Brewers in 2011.

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